Doing

Saying Goodbye to My CD Collection

I started packing up my remaining CDs last night. I’ve finally realized that no matter how often I tell myself that I’ll rip them to a drive, or that I’ll fall in love with the medium all over again, they will only collect dust in a dark corner of my house. Don’t believe me? Look how many times I’ve lied to myself about it!

I’m ridding myself of a collection I’ve built over 20 years. With a little effort, I could turn the entire thing into a Spotify playlist in about an hour. It’s hard not to feel defeated. How often did I spend money better spent on food or clothes on music that I barely heard? I’m still finding unopened CDs with receipts that are a decade old. Now I’ll sell them for pennies on the dollar and be glad.

I’m doing my best to not be sentimental about it, but it’s brought back memories of trips to record stores around the world. My R.E.M. CDs have been with me since I lugged them to Denmark as a 17 year old! I can still remember how much I cherished the 40-odd albums I took on exchange. I remember when my collection ballooned to 120 carefully curated discs in grad school. I spent time manicuring it, trading in to trade up, budgeting as best I could to have a collection my peers would respect. It grew to nearly 1500 discs when I mothballed it in the walk-in closet. Now as I pack it up and prepare myself to sell it all, I shake my head with every obscure disc I find encased in shrink wrap.

If you or someone you know would like to own a music collection that immediately makes it seem like you came of age in the ’90s, you might want to stop by AKA Music in the next couple weeks. It’s only fitting that I take them back to the place where I spent so much time and money on the music I’ve loved most.

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Doing

Why I Switched to Poster

You may have noticed some changes here recently. Here’s a hint: fresh content! Want to know my secret? The Poster app! Now I know we’ve all heard that the iPad is not a content-creation device, but I’m finding it pretty easy myself. In fact, I haven’t reopened my MacBook once, not even to change my blog theme!

Why do I like it so much? It doesn’t try to do anything more than allow you to draft, schedule and publish content. I don’t need a reader baked into the app, or to see stats on my personal blog. I just want to dive in and bang out 250-500 words about something I liked enough to write about. Like Poster! If you want to start using your iPad for blogging, you should check it out.

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Doing

Dressing Well for the World Wide Web

2012 was a monumental year for me, both personally and professionally. One of the things that was transformative for me was learning to dress well after several false starts. If you know me, you know I came from a world of rock tees and torn jeans. Like many guys, the transition to work wear was painful. I struggled with ill-fitting business casual, wore bad shoes and only got it right if I picked the wardrobe out with help from my wife. Jesse Thorn’s Put This On changed all of that for me in 2012.

I don’t remember when exactly I started watching and following Put This On. I devoured Season 1 and have been following Season 2 with great interest. I even bought a Savile Row suit on eBay and had it tailored for me! Quite a leap for a guy who used to wear a torn (and awesome) Sonic Youth “Sister” tee to the office on a routine basis.

Needless to say, the series changed the way I viewed menswear. The message that clothes are important never sank in until I started to see that you didn’t need to spend a fortune to present yourself in a manner that makes you stand out. Just knowing how shirts, pants and jackets should fit goes a long way toward looking better and project confidence. The best part? I already had lots of great pieces hanging in my closet! You may, too.

As my college buddy Tom told me once, “There’s no such thing as being overdressed; there’s only looking good.” It was great advice, and I’m sorry I waited so long to take it. Please take this advice: if you’re a guy who wants to improve his wardrobe and doesn’t know where to begin, please visit putthison.com, watch all the videos and read it every day. You’ll be glad you did.

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A New Look and Identity for Ramsayings

As my personal blogging identity crisis continues to evolve, I’m finding more than ever that pursuing a niche is the only way to be truly successful with blogging. It’s been nearly 10 years since I launched the first version of Blackmail Is My Life on Blogger and I can honestly say that being a generalist who tries to incorporate aspects of his personal life is a fool’s errand, that is, unless you can dedicate your heart and soul to it.

You know what’s coming next.

Yep, a new look and identity for Ramsayings! Yes, I’m working with my Internet superfriend Len Damico on installing a new theme that I happened across on Twitter this weekend (you should totally hire Len for whatever you need that involves, you know, the web) and I’m going to focus on the social web here going forward. I know it’ll be a total snoozefest for friends and family, but, you know, thought leadership is a thing that I probably should invest some time in as I continue to grow as a communicator on the social web.

The new theme? You know I get bored and it’s been almost two years since I installed the current theme. As much as I loved adding things like the Follow Suite with Roz’s help, it just doesn’t make much sense to have anything to speak of in the right rail. So I’ll try the new one for a while and see how it goes. Could be a really cool way for me to get more motivated to blog about the sort of work I do and my thoughts about how we’ll talk about brands in the future. Looking forward to thinking about it more here.

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Readers Crave Destinations

Last December I offered my two cents on what’s happening with blogging in response to Jeremiah Owyang’s provocative post that pronounced the golden era of tech blogging dead. Now, I’m not sure how people feel about that a few months on, but something that’s stuck with me is how we gather information online today. Sure, we’re having lots of “conversations,” but readers still crave destinations.

Good writers know that in order to get anyone to look at anything online, you need a hook. When we share links on Twitter and Facebook, they’re only interesting if you can tease people to click into the story. We’re all writing headlines for everything we share with the online community. To me that means we still need blogs, websites…anywhere you can put lots of words and ideas next to each other.

We like info snacking, but we’re really picky eaters. Given the amount of information that’s out there it’s only fair that readers only sample what they like at the content buffet. But make no mistake, curation takes more than the almighty “conversation.” So, writers, don’t despair: readers still crave the yummy content that’s always made the web great.

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